Gospel Fellowship Church Application Denied
Planning Board denies application; Church plans appeal
After three hours of testimony from the Gospel Fellowship Church's engineer and architect, and questions from members of the Planning Board and the public, Joann Prisendorf made a motion to deny the Church's application, seconded by Council President Howard Berner.
A "yes" vote supports denying the application; a "no" vote means do not deny the application. Also, Board attorney Arthur Ness informed the Board that in order to be eligible to vote on this application, a board member had to be present for all of the meetings or have listened to the tapes of the missed meeting(s).
Here is the breakdown of the vote:
- Joe Loonam: No
- Chris Pecci: Yes
- Carol Hudak: Yes
- Arthur Castronova: Yes
- Angelo DeCarlo, Chairman: No
- Mayor Ann Subrizi: Present, but ineligible to vote (missed Sept. meeting)
- Council President Howard Berner: Yes
- Joann Prisendorf: Yes
Vice-chairwoman Hedy Grant and board members Pat Santino and Thea Sirocchi Hurley were not present at the meeting.
Because Henley Avenue floods, the primary concerns raised by residents during the meeting were increased flooding due to the removal of vegetation to accommodate parking, and traffic.
Other concerns raised were the total number of congregants (200 adults and 100 children; approximately 10 of whom come from New Milford) and the inclusion in the plans of a $50,000 commercial kitchen. The Board and the public raised concerns that the inclusion of a commercial kitchen in the plans opens the door to renting the facility for catering events.
Prior to the vote being taken, the attorney for the Gospel Fellowship Church, Gerald Tyne, explained that approvals for parking were passed by the Planning Board that sat in 2008.
"The only thing my client had to do was show the architectural plan," Tyne said, adding that his client was willing to make amendments recommended by the current board in an effort to be "a good neighbor."
However, he said, “This board’s hands are tied by the previous board in 2008 that approved the parking lot,” Tyne concluded.
After the Planning Board rendered its decision Tyne told Patch that his client will appeal the decision. "They will be very successful on appeal," he said.